There was a time not very long ago when electric cars were seen as worthy and slow — dull cars for those of an environmental persuasion. Thankfully, that’s changed and in addition to there now being some really excellent electric family cars on the market, there are quite a few embracing the sheer performance potential of the electric motor.
Flooring it in an electric car and feeling the effect of the instant torque pinning you back into your seat is highly addictive and, if that’s the kind of thrill you’re looking for, then your choice is growing by the day.
Some of the machines billed as “the fastest electric car in the world” such as the McMurtry Spéirling and Aspark Owl are, thus far, still in the prototype stage, meaning that there’s a chance they may never go on sale. Others, however, are already sitting in customers’ driveways and, while you won’t find some of them on your local dealer forecourt, the rest you just might.
1. Rimac Nevera
Top speed: 412km/h
0-100km/h time: 1.85 seconds
Though a relative minnow, Croatian car-maker Rimac is actually a big player in the EV world. The company (which holds a controlling stake in Bugatti) has forged several agreements to supply technology to other carmakers such as Aston Martin, Koenigsegg and Pininfarina and is well-respected for the quality and design of its high-performance EV powertrains.
The Nevera is Rimac’s second car and, developing a scarcely-believable 1,940hp, it can sprint to 160km/h in 4.3 seconds thanks to its four motors (one at each wheel). There’s a dash of sensible in there too though, with a range of around 650km between charges provided you’re light on the accelerator pedal.
2. Pininfarina Battista
Top speed: 350km/h
0-100km/h time: 1.8 seconds
The great Italian styling house Pininfarina has decided to start building its own cars and, with some of the most gorgeous cars ever made under its belt, it’s no surprise that its first, an electric hypercar called the Battista, is easy on the eye. The performance stats aren’t far off that of the Rimac Nevera, and that’s because the Battista uses many of the same underpinnings. Only 150 will be built, each at a cost of around €2.4 million.
3. Tesla Model S Plaid
Top speed: 320km/h
0-100km/h time: 2.1 seconds
Regardless of what you think of Tesla as a company or its oddball CEO, there’s little denying that the Tesla Model S is a seriously impressive car. With 1,020hp in reserve and a couple of extra boxes ticked on the options list, the Model S Plaid, with its dual motors and all-wheel drive, can hit 320km/h and sprint to 100km/h in a hypercar-baiting two-and a-bit seconds. All from a practical five-seat saloon too.
4. Lucid Air Dream Performance
Top speed: 278km/h
0-100km/h time: 2.7 seconds
When the chief engineer behind the Tesla Model S vowed to out-Tesla Tesla on all the performance metrics that matter, the result was never going to be lacklustre. At present, with 1,115hp on tap, the Air Dream Performance from the Californian firm Lucid is the most powerful version in the range (until the promised tri-motor version arrives) and it’s certainly around about a match for the Model S on performance. Where some of the more efficient versions of the Air major though is on range, with 837km in reserve — an improvement of 25 per cent on the Tesla, despite its 113kWh battery being just 11% bigger. Lucid has said that the Air will make it to Europe in the not-too-distant future.
5. Tesla Model X Plaid
Top speed: 262km/h
0-100km/h time: 2.6 seconds
It may be big, it may be heavy, but Tesla’s Model X Plaid SUV still provides blistering performance thanks to its 1,034hp and dual motors front and rear. It’s not the first Tesla on the list and it won’t be the last, but there’s absolutely no arguing with the fact that a bulky family SUV with gullwing doors can sprint to 0-100km/h around as fast as a Formula One car.
6. Porsche Taycan Turbo S
Top speed: 261km/h
0-100km/h time: 2.8 seconds
Porsche’s first serious attempt at an electric car is as accomplished as expected and heralds great things for the future electrification of its model range. The “Turbo” name might be a bit silly in a car with no combustion engine, but 761hp and such a competent package shows that Porsche is deadly serious when it tells the new-kid-on-the-block Californian interlopers not to mess with the old guard.
7. Tesla Model 3 Performance
Top speed: 261km/h
0-100km/h time: 3.3 seconds
The Tesla Model 3 has been a strong seller for the firm in Ireland with its blend of reasonably keen pricing, elevated levels of tech and abundance of range. The majority of Model 3s sold here (the standard rear-wheel-drive version) won’t have quite the same range or face-bending acceleration as the higher-spec 513hp dual-motor Model 3 Performance, but kudos to Tesla for packaging supercar levels of performance in a relatively accessible humdrum family saloon.
8. Audi e-tron GT
Top speed: 251km/h
0-100km/h time: 3.6 seconds
The Audi e-tron GT shares much underneath with the Porsche Taycan and both are strong contenders for the title of the best-looking electric car on the market. Like all the cars on the list, mash the accelerator pedal and the performance is shattering, but the Audi’s first-class cabin and overall driving experience give it an edge over most of its rivals. The Volkswagen Group is absolutely knocking it out of the park right now on electric vehicles proving there’s still life in the establishment European manufacturers in the face of the EV revolution.
9. Tesla Model Y Performance
Top speed: 249km/h
0-100km/h time: 3.7 seconds
Think of the Tesla Model Y as a crossover version of the Model 3 and you’re there. Both cars share the majority of their underpinnings and, as such, Tesla has exploited the potential for a Performance version of its latest model. Powered by the same 444hp dual-motor powertrain, the Model Y can sprint to 100km/h in under four seconds which, for those not jaded by astounding EV performance figures, is sensational for a dumpy family crossover.
10. Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+
Top speed: 248km/h
0-100km/h: 3.8 seconds
The Mercedes EQS is arguably the most technically-impressive EV on the market right now and Mercedes’s performance division, AMG hasn’t been able to resist turning its hand to it. Even weighing in at 2.6 tonnes, it can still hit 100km/h in 3.8 seconds in a remarkably calm fashion and, easing off the accelerator a bit, a range of 576km shows just how sophisticated this electric flagship is.